Caitlin Baker - Graduate
Why did you want to work at Slater & Gordon?
I have been with the firm now for almost four years, and I was initially drawn to Slater and Gordon by the long history of good work done by a number of firm’s practice groups, and in particular the Commercial and Project Litigation team in the class action space.
I recently made the leap from personal injuries work into the Projects team, and the recurring theme across both practices for me has been the firm’s clear commitment to improving access to justice for our clients, taking the lead within the industry in conducting often ground-breaking proceedings for those who would otherwise not be likely to access the justice system, and ensuring that the work that we take on is progressed with the fundamental aim of achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.
I wanted to be part of a progressive firm which did good work for the broader community.
What is it like to work at Slater & Gordon?
In one word, exciting! The work of a Graduate can be entirely different from day to day, and there’s never a dull moment. As a Graduate, I’ve been lucky enough to work on a number of different matters spanning a variety of different areas of law including consumer proceedings, securities and corporations law, and an array of pro bono matters to name just a few. I love coming in to work each morning not knowing what projects I might have the chance to tackle that day!
Describe your day to day tasks in your role as a Graduate.
A typical day as a Graduate in my experience often involves conducting matter-specific and investigative research, assisting senior lawyers in developing new matter investigations, speaking with clients regarding class action enquiries, reviewing discovery documents in more established proceedings, honing my drafting skills through the production of detailed research memoranda and correspondence, as well as assisting with a number of pro bono matters.
I am lucky enough to be able to learn on the job from more experienced practitioners, and in particular, to be guided by senior lawyers as I develop new professional skills, particularly when working on unfamiliar tasks.
What do you consider to be the most important skills in an effective Graduate?
I’ve found that strong research skills are essential, as well as a passion for producing high quality work, and perseverance (or perhaps even a touch of stubbornness!) to persist in looking for answers even if they are not initially apparent - particularly when conducting investigation work. One highlight from my time in CPL to date has been assisting in the production of the firm’s submissions into a review of the Australian Consumer Law. This task involved conducting extensive research and speaking with seniors in the firm about their experiences with the statutory regulations, as well as collaborating with other lawyers in the team to produce a comprehensive submission in furtherance of the review.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to be challenged on a daily basis to produce high quality work and assist in a material way in advancing different types of matters, be they litigious proceedings or new enquiries.
How has your work at Slater & Gordon shaped your understanding of the law and the role of a lawyer?
Being exposed on a daily basis to a wealth of experienced practitioners working on complex and challenging class actions proceedings has been the most formative element of my time as a Graduate to date. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to throw myself headlong into completely unfamiliar tasks and being given the opportunity to prove my abilities through my contributions to the projects of my team under the guidance of both junior and senior lawyers.
I feel that I have genuinely learnt more about the operation of the law and the work of legal practitioners in the last few months than I have over the last couple of years!